Slow Cooked Mediterranean Leg of Lamb with Tzatziki
The perfect spring show-off main dish.Print
Serves: 10 to 12
Cooked low and slow for a while, then finished with a blast of high heat to get the outside nice and browned, a leg of lamb is one of the greatest entertaining main courses around. It says You Are Special to everyone at the table, but in fact is’s pretty easy on the cook.
The seasonings are classic Mediterranean, and because lamb is a very traditional Greek meat I paired it up with a simple tzatziki. Dial up or down the amount of the fresh herbs as you like in this dip (no dried here, please), and if you aren’t a fan of fennel, or you forgot to pick it up at the store, you can skip that. It was just my kicky little twist of the day. Serve this with plain or saffon couscous, and some springy green vegetable.
- 1 6-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 small cucumber
- ½ cup minced fennel
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 6 cups hot couscous, cooked according to package directions, to serve
1. In a small food processor combine the garlic, rosemary, thyme, zest, and salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the lamb, and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes, to come to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 225°F.
3. Place the lamb in a rack in a roasting pan. Roast the lamb in the oven for about 2 ½ to 2 ¾ hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 130°F on an internal thermometer. Turn the heat up to 500°F. and let the meat cook for another 15 minutes (the temperature in the oven will climb, but may not quite reach 500°F within 15 minutes, which is fine) . Remove it from the oven, transfer the lamb to a cutting board, tent it with foil, and let the meat sit for at least 30 minutes.
4. While the meat is resting, make the tzatziki. Peel the cucumber. Slice in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Grate the cucumber using the large holes on a box grater, or the grating blade in a food processor. Toss the cucumber with the fennel and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and place in a strainer over a bowl, or in the sink. Let sit for about 20 minutes.
5. Press down on the cucumber mixture to press out any extra liquid, then in a medium bowl combine the cucumber mixture with the mint, oregano, lemon juice, garlic and yogurt. Stir well, and add pepper and any additional salt as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl with a spoon.
6. Slice the lamb and arrange it over the couscous. Serve with the tzatziki on the side.